Clowning and the Heart of Teaching
Exploring the Self that Teaches
In this article, Catherine Bryden who works as a language teacher
at a Rudolf Steiner school in Germany, looks at the links between
Clowning and the art of teaching.
She describes how clowning has enabled her to accept and live with
the responsibilities of being a teacher, to find lightness, to embrace
conflict and to build a balance between her inner and outer world.
In The Courage to Teach Parker J. Palmer shares his inspiring
vision of teachers who refuse to harden their hearts because they
love learners, learning, and the teaching life. He speaks of the
importance of exploring the inner landscape of a teacher’s
life through reflection, discussion and brainstorming and explains
how this is done through the creation of community where complex
truths can be observed and investigated, where the inner life
of teachers is supported to grow and change. He states that good
teachers have one trait in common: “they are truly present
in the classroom, deeply engaged with their students and their
subject.” Above all, good teachers “are able to weave
a complex web of connections among themselves, their subjects,
and their students, so that students can learn to weave a world
for themselves. The connections made by good teachers are held
not in their methods but in their hearts – the place where
intellect and emotion and spirit and will converge in the human
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